The vote to establish a new organisation that would encompass the European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCs) and the European Science Foundation (ESF) fell short by two votes at the deciding meeting on 4 May 2011.
EUROHORCs and the ESF have similar aims as they both represent the interests of research and contribute to European research policy. The two organisations have identified synergies and have been working together to formulate policy for the European Research Area Roadmap and over recent years have been looking to merge into a single organisation.
EUROHORCs passed the merger motion at its general assembly with a large majority. However, at the ESF the motion failed to receive the two-thirds majority required by ESF statutes. It is clear that this vote represents a major setback for the merger plans. In January 2011, Marja Makarow, chief executive of the ESF, wrote that ‘democracy takes time… but change is on the way – retaining the status quo is not an option’. The outcome of the ESF vote has taken both organisations by surprise and they are unclear if, or how, to proceed.